retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Not to be Apple-centric, but some stories are simply too good to resist.

Yesterday we wrote in this space of Apple’s impressive performance in the recent fiscal quarter.

Today, we have one from the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” file....

The New York Times writes:

“Apple products have always been coveted by other electronics makers, especially Chinese manufacturers. The company’s products are so sought after that some electronic makers actually create fake replicas of iPods, iPhones and Mac computers, which are sold in electronics stores and online marketplaces.

“Now Apple has to contend with a new genre of copycats, those who are actually replicating Apple Store retail locations and setting up shop around the world.
The fake stores are selling real Apple products, though it’s unclear how they’re procured.”

The most recent examples apparently are popping up in China, where they have “the same table design and product placement as authentic Apple stores. The store itself has the same wooden tables as standard Apple stores; traditional branded posters and signs cover the walls. There is also the winding staircase and concrete floors you see in real Apple stores. It’s as if Steve Jobs himself helped design the space.

“The most amazing part of the fake stores in China have to be the employees. According to the blogger, these employees actually believe they work for Apple. They wander the store assisting customers and wear standard Apple T-shirts, which are bright blue with a clean white Apple logo across the chest.”

Can you imagine operating a store format that was so unique and successful that someone wanted to knock it off to this extent?

(While this may seem egregious, I have to say that this development has occurred a little late for my tastes. I was traveling to Shanghai a few years ago on business when I discovered that I’d left the power cord for my Mac Powerbook in the airport. When I got to China, I had to find a replacement ... and the process was very complicated and very expensive. It would have been a lot easier if there had been a fake Apple store around the corner...)
KC's View: